Zach Fish kept stepping into bases-loaded Bedlam spots Wednesday night.
Kept delivering, too.
Eventually in a big way.
Fish’s grand slam in the sixth inning blew open a close game, sending Oklahoma State to a 13-4 win in an opener at the Big 12 Baseball Tournament. The Cowboys junior was also hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and added a bases-full, run-scoring single to tie the Big 12 Tournament record with six RBIs, most of which came on his one big swing.
“Luckily, I caught a lot of it – and I caught almost all of it – so it just felt good to be able to help the team in that moment,” Fish said. “It was still a close game. Just getting any runners that we could in was huge at that moment in the game.”
The No. 7-ranked Cowboys, improving to 42-14, advance to Thursday’s Division 1 winner’s bracket final against Wednesday’s late Texas-Texas Tech winner. First pitch at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark is set for 7:30 p.m.
Before a crowd of 5,878, OSU snapped an eight-game Big 12 Tournament losing streak to Oklahoma and a seven-game tournament losing streak overall.
Fish snapped the night’s drama, although the game teetered on several key bases-loaded moments.
After the Sooners struck for three runs in the first off Cowboys starter Tyler Nurdin, OSU rallied with two in the bottom of the first, but wasted an opportunity for more after loading the bases with no outs.
Still up 3-2 in the fifth, the Sooners filled the bases off Nurdin, who gave way to OSU super-reliever Vince Wheeland, who improved to 9-0 with 41/3 innings of work. The Cowboys right-hander needed just three pitches to strike out Kolbey Carpenter, keeping the score where it was.
OSU took the lead in its half of the fifth, 5-3, on back-to-back singles – one by Fish – with the bases full.
The sixth inning swung all momentum.
On Fish’s sudden swing.
OU reliever Robert Tasin, the Sooners’ third pitcher, opened the inning with a strikeout of Saulyer Saxon. But Donnie Walton singled, Tanner Krietemeier walked and Gage Green reached on an infield single to load the bases for Fish.
Named the Big 12 Player of the Year by the league coaches earlier in the week, Fish turned on Tasin’s 1-1 delivery and drilled it well over the seats in left field and off the advertising signage above the walkway.
“It was a slider that was right around my knees, so I knew I had to go get it,” Fish said. “I had one out, so I knew I had to get the ball in the air and hit it as hard as I could.”
In the end, OSU owned the big bases-loaded situations, courtesy of Wheeland and Fish.
“There were a couple of moments there big with momentum and the outcome of the game,” said Cowboys coach Josh Holliday. “Vinnie has a bunch of experience in pitching in those situations. (He has) immeasurable talent to pitch in those situations like he has.
“And I’m really proud of Zach. He handled the moment awfully good. The kid went breaking ball pitch on him and he did with it what you need guys to do for you to have a great day.
“Those are two moments that we won.”